Thursday, December 29, 2016

Obama's shameful farewell message to Israel

Secretary of State John Kerry’s rebuke of the Israeli government on Wednesday set off a wave of criticism from lawmakers in both parties. Republicans denounced what they said was the Obama administration’s harsh treatment of a steadfast ally and Democrats signaled that they were uneasy with Mr. Kerry’s pressure on Israel, even as they praised the effort to promote Middle East peace.

In Europe, however, Mr. Kerry’s speech was greeted warmly, with officials calling it a courageous and thoughtful effort to salvage the idea of a two-state solution for the Israelis and Palestinians. Still, across the Arab world, his harsh words for Israel were met with a collective shrug, coming at the end of eight years of Obama administration policies that left many in the Middle East frustrated.

On Capitol Hill, hours after Mr. Kerry used what may be his last major address to bluntly inform the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, that “friends need to tell each other the hard truths,” he received a reminder of the deep support Israel enjoys in an otherwise sharply divided Congress.

“While he may not have intended it, I fear Secretary Kerry, in his speech and action at the U.N., has emboldened extremists on both sides,” said Senator Chuck Schumer, the incoming Senate Democratic leader.

A bipartisan chorus of lawmakers, upset with President Obama’s decision last week to allow the passage of a United Nations resolution condemning Israel’s construction of settlements in disputed territory, made clear that they were looking past the departing administration.

Senator Benjamin L. Cardin of Maryland, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, said he shared Mr. Kerry’s concerns “with the lack of forward progress on a two-state solution.” But Mr. Cardin also said he was unhappy that Mr. Obama had not vetoed the United Nations resolution, instead abstaining from the vote. He pledged to “explore congressional action that can mitigate the negative implications” of it.

The most ardent supporters of Israel in Congress seemed just as liberated as Mr. Kerry was to let loose.

“Secretary Kerry’s speech today was at best a pointless tirade in the waning days of an outgoing administration,” said Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona. “At worst, it was another dangerous outburst that will further Israel’s diplomatic isolation and embolden its enemies.”

Representative Eliot L. Engel of New York, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, called Mr. Kerry’s speech “gratuitous” and “wrong.” “There doesn’t seem any purpose to this other than to embarrass Israel,” Mr. Engel said. “It just pained me to watch it.”

Democratic members of Congress who are closer to Mr. Kerry, a former senator, and the Obama administration were more measured. Many had been angered by Mr. Netanyahu’s decision last year to accept an invitation from the Republican-led House to deliver a speech in the Capitol, where he confronted the president over the Iran nuclear accord.

Yet even these Democrats — eyeing the arrival of a Republican administration-in-waiting that has vowed strong support for Israel — left little doubt that they were parting ways with Mr. Obama on the substance of the United Nations resolution. [...]


  1. The USA believes, like the rest of the world, that Israeli building in the West Bank is illegal. Why complain when the US finally acts upon this belief, particularly after Israel's passing of the provocative Regulation Law?

  2. The regulation law was proposed but not yet passed. Many laws are proposed.

  3. The title and the article is somewhat misleading. It gives the impression that throughout President Obama's 8 years, he has been considered a secret friend of the settlements, and in the last days as president he suddenly made a 180 degree turn. It is well known that he has been trying to take some action against the settlements and force negotiations and a solution with the Palästinenser from day one?!

  4. What's interesting is that liberal Jews in the U.S. will still declare their admiration for Obama and if told that even his own party opposes his position they will simply decide that those Deomcrats are not good Democrats.

  5. There's no use burying your heads in the sand. As far as the international community, not the extremists on either side, are concerned, there are four choices here to solve the I/P conflict which has clearly dragged on for far too long: 1) A one-state solution, with complete democracy for all its citizens; 2) A two-state solution, one Jewish State and one Palestinian state; 3) One state, but the Jews as the elite and the non-Jews as a tolerated minority; 4) One state, with Arabs as the elite and (some) Jews as a tolerated minority. 1) is favoured by many on both sides, and many Leftists worldwide, but not by the international community because it will effectively mean the end of the Jewish State as a concept. 3) and 4) are intolerably racist, yet 3) is increasing in popularity among the Israeli/American Right and 4) is the official position of Hamas and Iran, among others. So 2), as fundamentally unsatisfying as it is, is the preferred option, and I can't blame Kerry for raising this point.

  6. Choice #5: Israel continues indefinitely, as is, to choose none of the 4 options, until one of them becomes viable. In other words, for lack of choices, Israel is temporarily choosing #3.


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